No plans to play Euro 2016 games behind closed doors

Participants are pictured at the interior ministry in Paris yesterday prior to a meeting to discuss the security measures for Euro 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty

Participants are pictured at the interior ministry in Paris yesterday prior to a meeting to discuss the security measures for Euro 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty

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Uefa has insisted there are no plans to play matches at Euro 2016 behind closed doors in response to the increased security threat.

Speaking to French radio 
station Radio 24 following the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, Uefa executive 
committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete was quoted as saying: “We can’t exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors as we 
cannot exclude terrorism.”

But Uefa insisted they will not look to keep supporters out of games at this summer’s finals in France.

Uefa said in a statement: “We are confident that all security measures will be in place for a safe and festive Euro and therefore there are no plans to play matches behind closed doors.

“However, we are nevertheless working on contingency plans and on multiple scenarios around crisis situations since we take the security of all participants [players, fans, etc] very seriously.”

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has said he would reluctantly accept playing Euro 2016 games behind closed doors if the ongoing 
terror threat meant that was the only alternative.

O’Neill admitted that, should security chiefs decide that is the best solution to guarantee the safety of all involved, they would have to do it.

He said: “If someone wants to make an attack as happened yesterday, it’s very, very difficult to deal with that, but overall the security that we’re being provided with is really excellent and like everything else, I’d comply with anything that is happening.

“There’s talk about matches being played behind closed doors, but the safety of people is of paramount importance and anything that is agreed upon, we will fall in line.

“If that is an alternative and it’s the only alternative, then if we are going to have the competition, we may have to comply with it.” Meanwhile, 
Belgium’s friendly against 
Portugal next Tuesday has been moved from Brussels to Leiria.

The Royal Belgian Football Association announced 
yesterday morning that the game had been cancelled because of security fears 
following the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

A statement on belgianfootball.be read: “For security reasons and precaution, the City of Brussels has asked the Belgian FA to cancel the match Belgium-Portugal on 29 March.

“The match of our Belgian Red Devils against Portugal, scheduled Tuesday night at the King Baudouin Stadium, will not take place.”

But several hours later the Belgian FA issued another statement announcing the game would be played after all but in Portugal.

“Given the dramatic events of yesterday, in these difficult times to allow mass events to take place safely and given the terror level 4 at national level, the game against Portugal will not take place in Brussels next Tuesday,” it read.

“This was decided today in coordination with the authorities and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).

“The Board of Directors of the Belgian FA has, in agreement with the national coach and coaching staff, decided to accept the proposal of the Portuguese Football Federation to play this match in Leiria, on the same day and at the same time.

“The Belgian FA appreciates the availability, flexibility and solutions offered by the Portuguese Federation. The FPF expresses its full solidarity with the Belgian FA in this tough and emotional period.”

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